Super Pretzel

Turning The Tide in Port Crescent - Game 2
Game 2

The Tepid Caves
After journeying south from Port Crescent along the Old Port Road, past Goatman’s Stead, the heroes of Super Pretzel arrived at the Tepid Caves. Stepping onto the loose beach gravel sent a sting of pain—and maybe a bit of regret—through Baldwin’s body, remembering how he was knocked utterly unconscious by a poisonous dart from an unseen assailant just a day prior. Baldwin then told the other heroes that, when they enter, they need to do so in silence and in stealth.

Once inside, Theren immediately spotted a reptilian flunky, which turned out to be a blowdart-wielding Poisonscale Needler. When the Poisonscale Needler felt threatened after seeing four unusual heroes, it ran down a narrow passageway, out of sight. The heroes then followed that path and dispatched two Poisonscale Needlers and a Greenscale Trapper. The Trapper seemed to be standing guard at a large, fortified pair of doors. Telesphorus and Theren transported into the enclosure, where they found four passive Sporeback Frogs. The door was left open and the heroes traveled back into the cave.

The heroes made their way to a large, tall room in the cave system, where another walled enclosure was built into the cave’s wall—but this enclosure seemed even more reinforced and secured with locks. In the main room of the cave was a Poisonscale Brawler, two Poisonscale Needlers, and a Greenscale Bog Mystic. The Bog Mystic was able to retreat to a deeper tunnel, but the other reptilians were cured of their vile lives by a series of slashes and flashes from Team Super Pretzel.

It was then that the heroes cautiously opened the secured pen and found a weepy, scared adolescent ogre named Torgo (or, Tor, for short). Torgo explained that he had been captured from the company of his mother months ago, but he didn’t know how far away that occurred. He relayed to the heroes how he had nightmares that seemed so real of him walking through the countryside at night and being forced to take things, including a large, glass-like rock. The heroes immediately knew that Torgo was being forced, through some sort of mind control, to steal, and that he was most likely forced to steal Neris’ large object. They promised Torgo that they would empty the cave of the evil within and free him from his bonds. Theren made a fish-head soup out of the nearby cave supplies and asked Torgo to stay put within his secure cell until they were able to return.

Theren then attempted to scout ahead in the deeper tunnel where the Bog Mystic retreated. He and the others walked down a cave until they were suddenly caught in a rush of water coming from in front of them. Luckily, everyone fared well in securing against the torrent of oncoming water.

Further along, the characters encountered the same Greenscale Bog Mystic, two Thri-Kreen Ambushers, and a Poisonscale Brawler. After a brutal fight, the heroes noticed a Blue Arcanian walking near a large pool of water. When the Arcanian’s staff was touched to the water, bubbling began to rise up from the pool. The Blue Arcanian then walked over to a large, crystal-like object that was on a plank sitting over the center of the pool. Touching his totem-tipped staff to the stone seemed to magnify his arcane attacks.

Turning The Tide in Port Crescent
Game 1

40 Winks…and Approximately 4,000 Gold Pieces
After clearing Mount Humphrey, the heroes set out on the wide, flat, and straight road heading north. Telesphorus recalled that the road heads straight into Port Crescent, approximately 10 miles to the north along the Torsk Coast. Before setting out on the road, the heroes camped atop a high hill (similar to Weathertop in LOTR). In their dreams, each character was visited by a symbolic vision of their deity, delivering new gear to them in exchange for a monetary offering (DM Note: easiest way to explain the new gear). Ashlynne was also given a pact to fulfill—she must kill five human males in the next month, and she must kill (in a horrible way) an “intelligent, pure-of-heart, sentient creature that trusts her” in the same amount of time. Ashlynne decided to not tell anyone of her special directives.

The next day, the heroes headed north along the Hambull Road—even though the regional humans erroneously call it Humbill road, Telesphorus knows much in the way of local history. He also knows that there is rich Dwarven history in this region, but that all Dwarven activity ended thousands of years ago. Since then, human fishers and merchants settled along the rich and well-positioned coastline until settling under the single flag of Wavebreaker at their seat of power in Port Crescent almost 600 years ago. In the past 100 years, however, the fishing hauls have slowed dramatically, natural disasters have caused trouble, and pirates have penetrated the once-unshakable Port Crescent supply routes.

The Sting of the Desert Sand
At a point along the road where it became impossible to look further up the road in the horizon, a black smoke was visible just over a hill crest. Theren scouted ahead and saw that four dwarves on two wagons were under attack by five scorpions. One of the wagons was destroyed and a fifth dwarf laid dead on the ground. After destroying a few of the minion scorpions, a tiny scorpion of 5" emerged from a hole of the same size, moving many squares before suddenly growing in size to a large creature. Baldwin ran right into the action, using a teleportation power to switch places with a direly wounded dwarf named Faradoc Hilltopple. Meanwhile, Ashlynne and Telesphorus provided cover and distraction to allow the other living dwarves to flee safely. After a brutal fight that saw Theren nearly dropped to his knees in damage, the heroes were able to clear the area of any other dangers. Finally, Telesphorus brought the fifth, dead dwarf back to life; that dwarf’s name was Pumple Copperbottom.

The dwarves introduced themselves to the heroes. It turns out that Saradoc, Faradoc, and Paradoc Hilltopple are brothers travelling to Port Crescent in order to ask for permits to do prospecting and surveying in the mountains near Port Crescent. The humans of Port Crescent grew into great wealth through the sea, and they saw no value in ever exploring the mountains. Also travelling with the Hilltopples are Yancy and Pumple Copperbottom, Dwarven cousins. Yancy believes that Pumple maybe didn’t deserve to be brought back to life—both because it’s unnatural and also because Pumple has always been foolish and looking for a fight. During a shared campfire and meal, Saradoc asked the heroes to escort the dwarves into the city of Port Crescent. The Hilltopple brothers were under the impression that Lady Wavebreaker was potentially not going to be receptive to the Dwarves, especially since they were now going to be a full day late to their meeting with her.

The South Gate
The next day, the heroes escorted the Dwarves the final leg of the journey to Port Crescent, passing through the South Gate. They were introduced as escorts for the Dwarves, but Captain Warrik at the South Gate wanted to hear from each of the heroes individually. Telesphorus explains his skills with healing and is allowed to pass through in hopes that he can offer some assistance with some of the residents of the Sea Shanty village. Baldwin used diplomacy to talk about his exploits, and Captain Warrik was very impressed and commented on Baldwin’s incredible armor. Ashlynne was able to bluff the Captain and tell him some lies about her exploits; Captain Warrik believed the tales and was taken with Ashlynne’s beauty. He mentioned that she should visit an old army guard captain named Percival at a tavern in the city called The Netted Barrel. Theren was silent, and Telesphorus was able to use his religious knowledge to ease the entire group through the gate. As the heroes and the dwarves departed the South Gate, an unarmored young man sent a falcon flying in the direction of the city and Captain Warrik told the Dwarves that it was an Officer’s Day and they should make haste.

Officer’s Day
When the heroes and the Dwarves arrived in Port Crescent, it became clear what an Officer’s Day is—a day when normal citizens can take their concerns directly to the head of government. In the case of Port Crescent, Lady Eiluvial Wavebreaker is the head of government, referred to as the Officer of the Fleet of Port Crescent. Saradoc Hilltopple was pulled aside by a human female, Lieutenant Lanx, wearing an official uniform with a falcon patch on her right shoulder. Theren was able to overhear their conversation, where Lanx explained to Saradoc that Lady Eiluvial had prepared a large reception the day before in anticipation of her first official Dwarven guests. This news was genuinely stunning to Saradoc, since he had heard rumors that Lady Eiluvial Wavebreaker was potentially dismissive to Dwarves.

When it was the Dwarves’ turn to address Lady Wavebreaker, she kept their initial meeting short because it looked as though the Dwarves were battle-weary and road-weary; she even thought enough of them to worry that these Dwarves had to travel such a long distance over such flat land. Lady Wavebreaker then addressed the heroes, asking them to introduce themselves. Baldwin and Telesphorus kept their introductions simple in front of such a large gathering. Theren pulled up his hood and kept completely silent, causing Lady Wavebreaker to move on to Ashlynne. Ashlynne introduced herself to the lady and the assembly as “Alexandra,” and everyone believed it was her name. It did, however, cause the Dwarves to react strangely at this name. At this point, Lady Wavebreaker ended the audience and the Officer’s Day.

The Copper Flagon
The heroes joined the Dwarves for a drink and dinner at their inn, The Copper Flagon, in the Service District. Theren immediately went to the back of the large common room to observe everything. He overheard two men talking about a secret ship outfitted to be a common looking carrick harboring hidden modifications in order to “deal with pirates.” Theren approaced the men and he began talking to one of them, named Billibund Arkton from the Valleste Merchant Group. Arkton informed Theren that he needed four crewmen to complete the carrick’s crew, but the four crewmen needed to be able and willing to fight person-to-person. If Theren could find four people, he should meet Arkton at the Spice Office of Valleste Merchant Group in the Port District soon.

Meanwhile, Baldwin stepped up to the bar to order a round of drinks. The bartender, Arthur, was happy to help the Dragonborn. While pouring the drinks, Arthur continued a conversation with another man at the bar about “the port ghost.” Arthur said that he had never seen the ghost himself, but knew plenty of people who claimed to have seen it. With a little more coaxing, Baldwin learned that Arthur had heard from a man named Wally about a golden shape floating out over Waxing Bay that then continued into Waning Bay and further out into the sea before diminishing out of sight. Of course, Arthur added, many people don’t trust Wally because he’s “a bit of a drunk,” but Arthur believes Wally’s story.

Baldwin brought the drinks back to the others and Telesphorus claimed that he could not be affected by such libations. Arthur overheard this and said “Oy! I have something for you, then!” and poured a short drink from a small wooden cask. This was enough to slow Telesphorus and Theren took him up to his room. Baldwin and Ashlynne then had a conversation with Wanda Tartan, the widow of an old sailor, and the owner of The Copper Flagon. Wanda rambled on and on, but eventually shared information about a local museum and sometimes-shop called The Cross-Staff And Quadrant, run by a woman named Neris that would “like” Ashlynne—and Ashlynne seemed to take that to mean “sexually.”

The Cross-Staff and Quadrant
The next day, the heroes visited Neris at the Cross-Staff and Quadrant. The shop was empty and Theren decided to wait outside. Inside was a desk at the back of the room, with a hand bell and a finely crafted golden dagger with three, red gems. With Ashlynne’s arcana knowledge and Telesphorus’s high perception, they were able to determine that the gems were actually glass and filled with a liquid substance and that a magical warding had been placed on the dagger from a nearby person. Instead of touching the dagger, the heroes rang the bell and Neris came in through a heavy, locked shop door, closing the door behind her. She mentioned that she had other items in her personal collection, but she was unwilling to who it to strangers. If they did a small favor for her, she would allow them access to her collection. She needed the heroes to obtain a rubbing from a small, stone island (15′×15′) in the middle of a small bay called Shark’s Throat—just to the northeast of Port Crescent’s two main bays. Neris claims that she cannot do this because she is considered a snoop by many and she cannot gain access to the far bay. Also, she informs the heroes that the interior of Shark’s Throat is treacherous.

The heroes decide to charter a small ship and crew from Hexcursions. Captain Cliff Hextable explains that he’s perfectly willing to pilot a ship for any paying customers, but that a trip to Shark’s Throat would be no ordinary trip. He quotes a price of 150gp in the hopes that they will not take him up on the price, but the heroes agree to the terms. The crew share a good laugh at the lack of sea legs on Theren and Ashlynne, but their good humor quickly fades as they are left to deal with navigating Shark’s Throat. The ship barely made it through whirlpools, jagged rocks, and high waves, crashing directly into the small stone island.

The Voice In The Head of Telesphorus
Suddenly, Telesphorus heard a voice in his mind that he could not fight. Luckily, the voice was reassuring and calming, speaking of being a fellow follower of Bahamut. The voice said: “Hello messenger of Bahamut. Do not be alarmed. I also serve Bahamut. Be advised. Humans in this city are alarmed by the righteous. Tell only those you trust. Come to these rocks when the moon is missing from the night. Most importantly, only allow those with good souls to step on these rocks.” Before Telesphorus could react, Theren jumped out onto the rocks with a rope tied around his waist. When he contacted the rocks, a ray of light burned his foot with small damage. Telesphorus then made 3 rubbings, finding a dragon’s head marking—the symbol of Bahamut—and a message in an unknown language. On the return trip, Ashlynne used her magical glasses to decipher the message in Supernal, which said “When the night has come / And Luna has gone / The pure of soul may enter / This is a house of Bahamut.” It took a blessing from Melora at the request of a silent prayer from Baldwin, but the crew was able to extract the ship from Shark’s Throat. This seemed impossible to Captain Hextable, and so he threw all 150gp back at Theren and told them all to never mention this trip to anyone and to never come back.

Separate Paths
That night, the four heroes separated. Theren trekked to the army base to scout for any information. With the exception of some daily life complaints of the soldiers, nothing could be gleamed. Theren was able to get an accurate layout of the army base from his scouting, though. Ashlynne walked along the ports of the Port District to try to overhear any conversations. She overheard a group of young men taunting another young man about his new job at Hubphrie Shipping Solutions, a local merchant group. The singled-out young man claimed that the owners are not descended from Humphrey—it’s just an unfortunate, similar-sounding name. Ashlynne used her streetsmarts to casually and anonymously insert the word “dumbphrey” into the mix and suddenly everyone around erupted in laughter, without knowing who uttered the brilliant epithet. The name is quickly spreading along the docks.

Telesphorus went to the Sea Shanty Village to investigate the rumors of sick people. Immediately, the sickness of the residents was evident. Everyone looked gray, smelled awful, was farting, and coughing. After healing a breastfeeding baby, allowing it to latch back onto its mother and have a chance at survival, Telesphorus also healed the baby’s mother, attempting to be secretive about it. He was, however, seen by a few of the locals and they wondered what his connection is to the sudden healing. With a little more exploration, Telesphorus also saw that the waste was being dumped—bucket by bucket—on a hill located above the water supply.

Meanwhile, Baldwin decided to ride Blackie up to the Tepid Caves, which was a two and a half hour horseback ride at a fast pace to the southwest. Upon arriving, he found a cave entrance. When Baldwin peered into the cave, he made too much noise and alerted something inside. Without seeing it coming, Baldwin was struck and knocked unconscious. Luckily, Blackie was able to pull him from the cave entrance in time and into the waves to revive Baldwin. He was lucky to escape with his life, and pulled a poisonous dart from his armor as he rode Blackie back to Port Crescent.

CSI: Port Crescent
The next day, the heroes returned to speak to Neris and to show her the rubbing she requested. When they arrived, Neris alerted them that something happened at her home the night before. She heard a “thud” in the night from her backyard, and looked out to see a single tree rustling. When the heroes went to the stables to investigate, they found the door with a broken lock. Outside, there was some fine gravel that smelled like the ocean, and some dried seaweed. Inside, the center stable was left locked, but the object that should have been secured in the room was missing. At the top of the tree, Theren found a cracked conch shell and a stone exactly like the the ones they found near and on Mount Humphrey. Finally, Theren noticed that the roof was offset from the walls—as though it had been picked up and paced back down.

Gateway to the Torsk Coast
Part 2 [8/24/14]

After defeating the encampment of Wildens, Ashlynne was able to successfully lie to the ignorant Ogre Mother by telling her that Tor was in the mouth of the mountain. When the ogre mother disappeared into the shadows of the mountain, the team began to search the encampment. They found a rough shrine, built out of wisteria vines, ash, and river birch. On the shrine was a black, cast iron cup with a small amount of sea water (Theren’s nature check indicates that there is no body of salt water for at least 75 miles). There is also a note written in Elvish that is sandwiched between two thin boards, secured with thin leather laces. The note indicated communication between two people writing in Elvish about a deal to buy and sell the stone being taken from the statues and erections to the toppled King Humphrey. The Wilden were doing the labor of collecting and transporting stone between the two unknown people.

Also found in the encampment was a Helm of Torchlight, many crude hammers and chisels and poles, carts, and three clay pots filled with a tacky substance. The substance is used to add pliability to dried vines, but also burns slowly and steadily; the team did not take any of this substance. Finally, a tree stump appeared to have a lot of foot traffic back and forth between the shrine hut and the stump. Ashlynne detected a ritual had taken place at the stump, but it was unknown which ritual.

As the team approached the mountain entrance, the ogre mother was turning to walk back out of the shadows. They all successfully hid, and Theren was even able to successfully pickpocket the ogre mother to retrieve a Ratty Blanket. The ogre mother continued on without incident. Once inside the mountain, the shadows began to overtake the team. A rotten, pungent smell of vegetation was present in the trickle of water coming from the mountain. The team noticed two interior caves; one to the left and one to the right. They chose to first take the left side.

The left tunnel descended slightly and grew pitch black within. Theren equipped his Gloaming Shroud, allowing the darkness near him to be dim, instead. Baldwin also equipped his newly acquired Helm of Torchlight, which was very unbecoming on such a noble looking dragonborn. The team was almost immediately brought into an attack by the impulsive actions of Theren rushing into a bone pile and attracting the attention of many crawling things. After attempting retreat but being flanked by phasing spiders, the team was able to defeat their foes and live to tell the tale. The tale which happens to include Theren the Unmanageable hiding inside the dead bodies of some Phase Spiders.

After collecting some phase glands and spinnerettes from the bodies of the fallen phase spiders, the team stumbled upon a mirror, surrounded by a frame of bones, in a hidden corner. The bone frame had four distinctive places where some objects were clearly meant to rest. Upon noticing this, a hazy apparition became evident in the glass. An airy representation of a decayed man with exposed skull and a tri-tipped gold crown upon his skull with four empty spaces across the band (probably where the jewels had been placed). The aspect is robed in ostentatious raiment that has been reduced to tatters. It spoke, “What manner of creatures are you that you cross through my realm and do not beg of my pardon? Are you merchants from the coast? How can you step in my lands and stand in my presence, yet not know whose name it is you should praise?” He was totally unaware of how he appeared to the team, and Telesphorus happened to see a resemblance of this apparition with the toppled statues of the surrounding area. Surely this must somehow be King Humphrey.

Humphrey explains that he “moved the seat of his kingdom nearer to the sea to bring some civility and culture into these lands. Who knew we would encounter such grief from those—those COD LICKERS.” A series of uprisings culminated in a final assault on Humphrey’s forces. “We fell back to Mount Humphrey, here, when those sea dogs from the north arrived and overran my troops. Lucilla told me she must place a spell on me to keep me from being found. Did she send you to retrieve me?” Humphrey has no idea how much time has passed, how he looks, or that he’s trapped in a mirror. He rambled on, “Those cod-licking merchants up on the Torsk Coast came into these lands, also laying claim. House Wavebreaker thought they could organize those sea dogs, with me as a lightning rod. It’s good to see Lucilla’s plan worked and you have returned to save me.” Baldwin explained that they were travelling adventurers and that Lucilla had not sent them, but that they were willing to aid the king. Humphrey promised them wealth and position if only he brought back his crown to free him from his bondage.

The team secured the mirror back in a corner and continued through the body of the mountain. The last cave was just as pitch black as the first cave, but it ascended instead of descended. As the team equipped their Gloaming Shroud and Helm of Torchlight, it became evident that something was in the cave with them. When they stepped into the center of the cave, they were attacked by a large, Mutated Shadowhunter Bat, which was mounted by a small, Goblin Bat Handler. Then two bat swarms surrounded them, along with a final Mutated Shadowhunter Bat mounted by a Goblin Bat Handler. After quite some time, the team was victorious and found a few spider sacs. Theren cut one open and found himself infected with Russet Mold Contagion, but Telesphorus quickly relieved him of his symptoms.

At the end of the cave, a stairway was carved into the body of the mountain with much skill. The markings appeared to be Dwarven, but no one in the party speaks Dwarven. Still, they all were able to remember the markings with enough clarity that, at the top of the steps, they could tell that the markings were similar to some other marked stone. The marked stone at the top of the steps were above an ancient doorway, leading out to the top of the mountain. The top of the mountain was a desolate raking of piles of compost, fetid water, and rotten stumps. The team ripped apart every pile of vegetation to look for missing parts of the stone above the doorway, but they were unable to find anything important. It was clear that the only thing to do was to cross the petrified vine to the other half of the top of the mountain.

On the other side, the team was immediately confronted by a group of four human, female warriors, primed for defense. Behind them stood a wide stone altar and another human female clad in bones, holding a staff and a totem. Theren also noticed a sixth human female, clearly cowering in fear behind the stone altar. After defeating the warriors and the leader, the team approached the cowering female prisoner. Telesphorus and Ashlynne were wary of this prisoner, but even with their high perception, they did not notice anything out of the ordinary. When Ashlynne stepped away and left Telesphorus alone with the prisoner, the prisoner’s skin suddenly ripped apart and exposed a Green Hag. This is Lucilla. She brought to life two large compost piles in the form of Shambling Mounds. A very difficult battle ensued, causing Baldwin to nearly fall dead. Just when he was beginning to heal and the team looked close to defeating Lucilla and her two Shambling Mounds, Lucilla called upon Hezuregan to fulfill his oath. Just then, a large, skeletal bat filled with a dark void assembled into being.

Theren was picked up and carried off by Hezuregan, only to be dropped on top of Telesphorus. Ashlynne’s Shadow was able to create a zone of blocking against the remaining Shambling Mound and Lucilla, so that they could be routed into only one lane of attack. After a near defeat, the team destroyed the Shambling Mounds, exploded Lucilla on top of her altar, and imploded Hezuregan into a receding fog of shadow. Left behind were the atria from Hezuregan’s heart, which were fitted as magical Calcified Heart Bracers of Gliding (wore by Telesphorus). Another black, cast iron cup was found on the altar, also filled with a small amount of sea water. Theren found a smooth sea stone inside of the still standing thatched hut. Theren decided to put the stone in the water to test if it was a communication device, but he first picked up the head of Lucilla and cut her face off to wear on his own face. After rolling a 1 to deceive and making contact with some unknown force, the result was Theren being flung 10 squares away and taking 20 damage; the communication was severed.

Also found was a Scroll of Tree Stride (ritual), which Ashlynne and Telesphorus copied to their ritual books. Two lock boxes were found in the rubble of a destroyed, rotten thatched hut; one box was controlled by a typical key, while the other was controlled by a puzzle. The puzzle box was obviously Dwarven, and the team noticed that they needed to match up three symbols to open the box. There were successful on the first try, thanks to a very high insight check from Ashlynne; they matched up the symbols to what they found on the stairs and above the ancient door at the top of the mountain. However, they still do not know what any of the symbols mean. Inside of that box was a Polyglot Gem (Giant), which allows the holder to speak the language of Giant; 1,000 platinum pieces, and the Crown of King Humphrey. The team could not successfully pick the keyed lock box, so Baldwin cleaved it in half perfectly. Inside was 8,000 gold pieces and 4,000 silver pieces.

To wrap up, the team decided to go back to talk to King Humphrey’s aspect in the mirror. He again promised to give them wealth if they helped him. When the team asked him where he kept his wealth, King Humphrey told them it was safely secured in a dwarven puzzle box that no one could ever figure out. The team knew that they already had the prize, and they all agreed that King Humphrey was likely a very evil person. Theren smashed the mirror and King Humphrey finished his own life, thus finally closing the story of King Humphrey.

Gateway to the Torsk Coast
Part 1 [4/26/14]

After defeating the forces at Malrien’s Keep and conferring with Tally, the team decided to travel to the foothills in the far mountings to meet a smith with talents in working with quartznium. During their travels, they heard a scream from a boy and a shout from a man. Theren quietly rushed into the medium growth forest to see a human man and boy standing defensively in a wide clearing. It became clear they were being advanced upon by several reptilian creatures. The creatures were unarmed, but they were clearly crazed. The rest of the team was alerted by Theren and everyone joined the fight. Luckily, the creatures were not a challenge to the heroes. Theren turned his wall of leaves into a leaf statue of himself while Baldwin collected wood to build a burial fire for the defeated leaping felldrakes (x4). Telesphorus accepted the simple yet customary gesture from the man (Brandlin) and his son (Fillian). They had nothing else to offer, but the sharing of tea and a meal is a high honor among the poor humans of this region. Brandlin was also in awe of Ashlynne and her obvious magical abilities.

The next day, the heroes parted ways with Brandlin and Fillian, after learning a wide creek was at the end of the clearing, due west. Brandlin said there were ample provisions to be gathered along the creek, although game was surprisingly absent for this time of year. The team continued west until they reached the creek, which was easily crossed. While drying supplies after a successful crossing, Theren sensed a faint rumbling and saw a single stream of dark smoke rising from the middle of a dense forest directly to the west. The rest of the team were also able to also see a large cliff in the far distance to the northwest, with two other small streams of dark smoke rising; one rose from the top of the cliff. The team decided to step cautiously into the dense forest.

Again, Theren advanced into the forest quietly until he could make out the following scene: a wide clearing in the trees revealed a slowly rising drumlin with the ruins of ancient pillars and a statue. On one of the massive pillars sat a large figure with its back turned to Theren’s view. A fire gently burned, obviously having been tended as a cook fire. Two wolves sat near the fire, gnawing at bones, while the large, seated figure moaned with sorrow. As the rest of the team cautiously approached, Telesphorus saw that the statue was of Humphrey Of Newcastleton. [Humphrey was a ruler that dedicated all his efforts to building monuments to himself; as a result, Newcastleton was never even officially established and “Humphrey” is still used as a derogatory term to this day.]

The massive, seated figure could be heard muttering “Where Tor?” This caused Baldwin to attempt parley. This, in turn, caused the massive figure to turn around and reveal itself as a giant, bare-breasted ogre mother in full-on distress mode. She grabbed her club and immediately swung it at the unarmed Baldwin for 13 damage. Theren and Telesphorus were able to kill the two hunting wolves, just as two more hunting wolves emerged from the wood. Ashlynne attempted to lie to the ogre mother, telling her that “Tor that way,” pointing in the direction of the cliff and the other smoke streams. Ashlynne was successful and the ogre mother ran away in a sprint along with her hunting wolves, ignoring the rest of the team. Without stopping to heal, the team ran in pursuit. Theren tied 20’ of vines to an arrow and fired it at the ogre mother’s club, but he misjudged the distance and missed.

Theren was the first to arrive to where the ogre had run, and he immediately saw an encampment of furry humanoids. They were Wilden and Theren knew it was quite uncommon for Wilden to be camping outside of a forest along a cliff-face, and especially in a long wooden cabin. Wilden Destroyers were on the ground with axes, Wilden Hunters were mostly off the ground with bows, and the ogre mother and wolves were trying to maneuver through defensive structures (rocks and fences). The wolves each took out Destroyer, then two Hunters took out both the wolves. Just then, a Wilden wearing raiment made of bones and stitches of fabric emerged from a small, single-dwelling hut. The Wilden Ancient held up a crude, carved, wooden figure, stamped his spear into the ground and then struck the wooden figure (totem) to the spear. This caused the earth to swell in a straight line leading to the ogre mother, where the soil erupted and pulled the ogre mother 1’ into the ground, where she was immobilized and damaged. Theren rushed up near the side of the ogre mother and fired a shot at a Hunter to the far northeast, causing 6 damage. The Hunter attempted to return a shot, but in the sudden commotion, he instead fired an arrow into his thigh, causing himself 18 damage. Telesphorus sensed an opportunity to cause greater harm to the evil creature and fired a hand crossbow bolt into the wound for 3 damage (bloodied). Ashlynne then advanced and caused 13 damage to the Wilden Ancient. Baldwin rushed to the side of Theren, placing both of them directly beside the ogre mother and her giant club.

The ogre mother sniffed the air to get a sense of whether or not Tor is nearby, but her perception was so low that she still believes Ashlynne’s lie. The ogre mother will continue sniffing the air for indications as to whether Tor is near. If Tor isn’t near, the ogre mother has no reason to continue fighting because her urge is to search for Tor.

The Forest Keep of Malrien

Reunited after Ashlynne’s recon of Priam’s village the party entered a dark, overgrown forest. Finding a clear path leading towards the mountains they set off to investigate the source of the mind-controlling waves and hopefully find the townsmen. A few hundred yards into the wood however, they were diverted by a series of deadly traps set across the path. The party chose to move off-path and eventually found a stream bed which allowed quick travel towards the mountains. Night drew in and they overnighted next to the stream.

Overnight the party noticed the lack of predator sounds, it appeared as if the forest wolves were all silent or gone.

Waking early to avoid attack the party continued along the streambed until they smelt smoke and found 4 gnoll huntsmen apparently breaking their fast although they acted strangely.

Utilizing the element of surprise and their tactical advantage from the forest cover the party attacked the gnolls, knocking one into the cookfire and scattering the others. Baldwin struck quickly, smashing a gnoll into a nearby tree and bisecting it’s head like so much firewood. A battle ensued as the remaining gnolls attempted to flank the party and Theren deployed a gloaming shroud over the stream, temporarily stopping the incoming arrows. The gnolls were quickly routed and were found to be carrying a crude map indicating their current position as well as what appeared to be a large forest hold to the north.

Theren notified the party that there was someone following them.

The party moved quietly through the woods, growing more concerned by the lack of forest sounds and wildlife, eventually reaching a break in the woods which opened into a large marsh backed with foothills. In the center of the marsh lay a large wooden fort with 40 foot armored towers angled away from the center keep and anchored with heavy cordage. The fort bristled with guards, wolves and trebuchets but the front gates were open, allowing the party to view inside. They saw several guards leading townsmen to a simple wooden cage that they closed behind them, without locking. There were also several guards walking the perimeter with wolves that appeared to be staring directly ahead without taking notice of their surroundings or attacking the guards. All appeared to be under some kind of mind control or dominate. The party attempted to communicate with their hidden follower but he refused to identify himself or aid them as he could not be convinced of the fact that they were not under mind control or dominate. He indicated he would be happy to help as soon as he could confirm their intentions and desires.

Further reconnaissance of the fort identified an overhanging cliff face roughly 30 feet over the western walls of the fort and a group of rotting trees, apparently the last in the area, to the south of the fort. After extensive planning and food poisoning, the party opted for a nighttime surprise attack on the fort.

Telesphorus teleported himself and Theren to the roof of the keep, attempting to gather intelligence on the inhabitants. Appearing quietly, they noticed a group of a dozen soldiers being fed from a cookfire and what appeared to be an altar or platform with much equipment stacked on it. Flashing back they coordinated the attack plans with the rest of the party.

Baldwin headed towards the south to use his strength to push the rotted trees into the fort walls while the remainder of the party scaled the cliff to the south to launch an attack from there.

Using silk cordage from Baldwin’s supplies, Theren created a rope line for Ashlynne to the wall while Telesphorus teleported them to the wall walkway. Ashlynne grabbed the feet of a passing guard, throwing him to his death while Baldwin dropped a massive tree on the southern walls of the fort, creating a gangplank for the dragonborn to assault the fort. Rushing a guard Baldwin threw him from the walkway and chopped through the retaining line on the tower, causing it to tumble.

Nearly simultaneously, Telesphorus? cut the northwest tower cable, causing it to fall but also causing the wall to start falling apart underneath them.

This noise caused guards to flood from the keep but Theren and Ashlynne used area denial attacks to cause damage to these lackeys while they concentrated fire on the walls and approaching guards. Meanwhile, Baldwin rushed the southeast tower but was attacked by wolves and more guards. Defeating these he snuck through their line of fire and managed to cut the southeast tower loose with the help of their forest friend, causing more wall damage before he dropped down into the interior of the keep.

Sensing the wall crashing apart below them the party dashed, teleported and roped down the wall to the ground and began running to the east.

Baldwin, meanwhile hacked through the crude pikes blocking the entrance and freed the caged townmen who were very confused by the sudden appearance of a dragonborn. Baldwin then waved a torch to their forest ally who immediately joined the fight, taking down two wall guards with his arrows and informing them that his name was Tally. He also turned the forest wolves to the party’s side.

A hacking, smashing, biting fight ensued while the rest of the party made their way to the front of the fort to support their new human allies and Baldwin.

Tally proved helpful and was able to scale walls quickly using his grappling hook and quick speeds. The battle seemed in hand until the appearance of a tower of fire and smoke.

The towering inferno killed friend and foe alike until Telesphorus was able to break through the mind domination and reveal that it was actually a powerful con artist using a psyranthus shard to dominate and control minds. The enemy was identified as Malrien, a female who utilized two crystalline daggers and incredible speed to battle the party.

Quickly her strengths were shown as the party found themselves literally unable and unwilling to attack Malrien as she appeared as a pitiful groundling to them, hardly worthy of an arrow or blade edge.

She appeared to dash in and out of the battle using her ability to dominate hearts and minds to kill off many of the friendly wolves and townmen and began sneaking close to attack the party. It wasn’t until she openly attacked the party were they able to take the offensive against her. The party chased her into the keep, cornering her and blocking her exits using area denial spells and attacks. She was eventually vanquished and the remaining guards were mopped up by Ashlynne and Tally.

Tally joined up with the party and began filling them in on their current situation.
Malrien was merely a henchwoman of a greater controller, Horoveth.
Horoveth has taken up residence in the far mountains as it is the only source of the psionic crystal, psyranthium.
Using pysranthium-enhanced Third Eye Dominate, he is able to control males of the nearby town of Priam and uses them in his mines.
Tally has a brother who is in Horoveth’s inner circle and who is aiding the resistance.
Quartznium is a sister mineral to psyranthium and capable of destroying it if forged into weapons
There is a smith in the foothills capable of forging quartznium weapons but he is very difficult to deal with and notoriously anti-social
The people of Priam’s village absorb psyranthium through their food and water and so have mild telekinetic powers. They use these to herd reindeer and keep wolves at bay. Priam himself is an older man and has a lifetime of psyranthium in his system so he essentially has Jedi powers.
Use of psyranthus crystals causes on-going damage and will eventually kill you or age you extremely quickly unless you are immune or use spells against it’s effects.

The party found quartznium, mining equipment and RANDOM LOOT.

The party was given a cloth insignia to identify themselves as part of the rebellion.

Tally has taken 5 of the townsmen with him and will train them as fighters. The remaining 15 men returned to Priam’s town to defend their village.

GAME DAY 12-7-2013
Clearing Malorath's Forces and Embarking To A Village With No Men

Theren, Ashlynne, Baldwin, and Telesphorus continued moving through the dungeon guarded by the forces of a necromancer named Malareth. Team Super Pretzel had previously encountered and rescued a 13’ black warhorse that was bridled with the marking of Malareth. Telesphorus became the de facto protector of Blackie from calming and soothing him as the team added him to their group as a steed.

While traversing the inner rooms of the dungeon, our heroes met a young, white dragon named Faralax. Baldwin‘s heritage as a Dragonborn and his skills in diplomacy allowed our heroes to talk the dragon into agreeing to let them pass without incident. Two promises had to be upheld: they must not loot Faralax’s dungeon and they must clear the forces of Malareth. Our heroes agreed and Faralax disappeared through a large portal on the ground.

After passing through more inner rooms of the dungeon, our heroes encountered three small rooms with fire altars. Ashlynne used her fire spells to disperse the rooms of goblins.

Our heroes entered a room with a statue of Bahamut, a desecrated altar covered in blood, one doppelganger, and three devout followers of Malareth. Telesphorus became enraged that such evil surrounded the statue of Bahamut; he held his holy implement and began praying which caused the Eyes of Bahamut to begin glowing wildly. Ashlynne intimidated the doppelganger amount its impending ruination if it did not turn sides. The doppelganger assisted our heroes to attack the three devout followers for a cut of the loot from the bodies. Once the devout followers were defeated, the mercenary doppelganger gathered its portion and fled. Telesphorus cleaned the desecrated altar, provided 10gp of blessings to the statue of Bahamut, and would not allow his companions to take the Eyes of Bahamut from the statue.

Finally, our heroes came into a room with a necromancer, four goblins, and a hulking zombie. The goblins were taken care of with little effort. In an unbelievable feat, Ashlynne landed a critical hit upon the hulking zombie early in the battle, causing it to disintegrate and disappear. Unable to raise the destroyed behemoth, this infuriated the necromancer. Miraculously, another hulking zombie burst through a connecting room. Just as miraculously, Ashlynne landed yet another critical hit on the second hulking zombie. After this, our heroes made short work in destroying the necromancer, fulfilling the spoken contract with Faralax.

Our heroes exited the dungeon and came to the port town of Falcrest. They visited the standard merchants and made simple sales. They visited the ships at the port and sold water to the seaman. Baldwin used his down to manufacture 4 sleeping bags which provide excellent warmth in the harshest of conditions.

In the center of town, our heroes were approached by an addled young woman named Kreayus. She hysterically yelled about all the men in her village (Priam’s Village) disappearing and all the children of her village becoming violent. An old man and an old woman came out to silence Kreayus and move her back into a hut. Telesphorus felt that justice was being subdued so he rode Blackie over to the old man and demanded answers. The old man told them the location of the village and the location of a forest where the men were last known to have traveled; no other details could be given.

Our heroes departed, but separated. Ashlynne traveled alone to Priam’s village because she was the only woman and perhaps she would be immune to any potential effects in the village. The other three traveled through tundra to reach the forest, southeast of the village.

The story continues…


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